The latest news coming out of Detroit is that General Motors is planning to launch a range of fuel efficient vehicles to take back the market share that it has lost to Toyota. GM will use part of the expected $9 billion in savings from its extensive cost cutting to invest in technologies including hybrid-electric drivetrains with batteries that can recharge at any power outlet, more efficient gasoline engines as well as hydrogen-powered fuel cell models. The General hopes to launch several new models as well as hybrid versions of its existing models such as the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck to sell alongside the Saturn Vue Green Line that went on sale this month.

GM is expected to make an announcement before the end of the year, and has mentioned that the company has already spent more cash on its automobile business than it was actually receiving in sales. A special taskforce has been set up to develop the new “plug-in hybrids” under the in-house name of I-car or Icon car. Plug-in hybrids recharge when the vehicle isn't in use and switch to the gasoline engine when the batteries are drained.

We’re surprised GM hasn’t placed diesel technology high on its agenda. The virtues of diesel have already been proven, and its popularity in Europe is testament to its benefits. For the first time ever, diesel powered new cars are outselling their gasoline counterparts in Western Europe.